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Ostomy Skin Care

Do you have red or irritated skin around your stoma? Having a peristomal (around the stoma) skin complication is one of the most common reasons people living with an ostomy seek medical attention. Urine and feces can be irritating to the skin. If you believe you have a peristomal skin complication, contact your healthcare professional as soon as possible.

Why is it important to maintain healthy skin? If the skin around your stoma becomes damaged, it could be painful and lead to infection. It also becomes more difficult for the skin barrier of your pouching system to adhere to your skin. Prevention is the key to maintaining both healthy peristomal skin and your comfort.

Make sure you know what healthy skin looks like

Make note of how your peristomal skin looks when it's healthy. Peristomal skin should look similar to the skin on the other side of your abdomen: smooth and not irritated. Once you know what healthy skin looks like, you can watch for signs of skin irritation.

Healthy Skin

Irritated Skin

Proper fit of the skin barrier around the stoma is important to prevent peristomal skin problems:

  • For one-piece systems, a thin, flexible adhesivewill protect your skin and allow for more frequent pouching system changes.
  • For two-piece systems, special moldable skin barriersdesigned to hug the contours of your stoma and eliminate gaps provide a snug fit that may help minimize peristomal skin problems.

 

Preventative Tips for Maintaining Healthy Peristomal Skin

Bath and shower tips

  • You can bathe and shower just as you did before surgery, with your pouch on or off—the choice is up to you.
  • Because soap residue can cause your skin barrier to lift, avoid oil-based and moisturizing soaps.
  • Soap and water will not flow into the stoma and cannot damage it.
  • Read more about bathing with an ostomy

Choose a well-fitting skin barrier

  • To help keep the skin around your stoma healthy, it is important that your skin barrier fits properly. Choose a well-fitting pouching system to help prevent irritating stoma contents from coming into contact with your skin.
  • Your ostomy nurse can teach you how to use a measuring guide to determine the size of your stoma and select a cut-to-fit, pre-cut or moldable Your stoma size will change up to 10 weeks after surgery, so you will need to measure it periodically.
  • Changes to the abdomen caused by pregnancy, exercise, weight gain/loss or certain medical conditions may also require a new pouching system and/or size. 

Make an easy-to-follow schedule for pouch changes

  • Make an easy-to-follow schedule for your pouching system. This will ensure your skin barrier is changed before the adhesive has eroded, reducing the chance of urine or feces coming into contact with your skin.
  • Your schedule should be personalized based on your system type and the advice of your doctor or ostomy nurse.
  • At each skin barrier and pouch change, make a habit of looking at the skin around your stoma. Redness, swelling or a rash are signs of irritation. If you see any of these, or other signs of irritation, notify your healthcare provider.
  • Never rip or tear off your pouching system. Instead, remove the skin barrier gently by beginning with one corner of the barrier and slowly pulling off the remaining adhesive. Adhesive releaser sprayand remover wipes can make pouch changes easier and ensure clean skin, ready for your next skin barrier. Request a sample of Sensi-Care Sting Free Adhesive Remover.
  • A skin care routine including skin barrier spray or wipescan help ensure healthy, comfortable peristomal skin for years to come.
  • Make sure your peristomal skin is completely dry before replacing your pouch and skin barrier. Dry skin ensures a good adhesive seal and helps reduce the risk of fungal infection.
  • In hot, humid locations, consider using a pouch with a fabric backing. This will keep the pouch from sticking to your skin and causing skin irritation.

 

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